Like 10.6 million Americans, Time film critic Richard Corliss has a subscription to Netflix, which sends everything from Bollywood megamusicals to BBC miniseries to his mailbox. "No question," Corliss admits, "Netflix serves a need"—it's super cheap and stocked with titles. But the DVD delivery service has killed off independent stores run by Tarantino-like obsessives, while we turn into "those blobby people in WALL•E."
Not long ago you could ask a video clerk for a recommendation and discover a forgotten foreign masterpiece, but when Corliss rented an Indian drama, he was told that he'd also like "Season 1 of Scrubs." And while Netflix's new on-demand service may provide instant gratification, that may not be such a good thing. "You'll be what the online corporate culture wants you to be," Corliss writes: "a passive, inert receptacle for its products."